Fieger Accuses Judges of Trying to Coerce Flint Residents Into Settlement
Attorney Geoffrey Fieger is pointing an accusatory finger at two judges, including one here in Genesee County. The Detroit-based attorney represents more than two dozen clients in the Flint water settlement and claims the judges are trying to coerce his clients into taking part in the $641.25 million settlement.
What is Fieger alleging?
According to the Detroit Free Press, Fieger is accusing US District Judge Judith Levy and Genesee County Circuit Judge Joseph Farrah of trying to "strong-arm" his clients into taking part in the settlement.
Both Levy and Farrah have rejected Fieger's claim, saying they simply want his clients to be aware that not taking part in the settlement could delay remuneration by several years. On the other hand, settlement participants could collect between $300,000 and $1.5 million in a matter of months.
"Insulting the court and trying to say that Judge Farrah and I were here to coerce something or try to do something improper ... (is) simply untrue," Levy told Fieger.
Who is Fieger representing?
Most of Fieger's clients are Flint residents who either contracted Legionnaire's disease or are related to someone who did as a result of Flint's choice to switch its water supply to the Flint River in 2014.
If Fieger's clients opt not to take part in the settlement, this could allow McLaren Hospital to withdraw $20 million from the total settlement, reducing it to $621.25 million.
Fieger tells the Detroit Free Press that "McLaren never should have been part of the global settlement involving the state, the city, and an engineering firm that worked on the Flint water treatment plant."
Genesee County Circuit Judge Joseph Farrah says he is under the impression that two of Fieger's 26 Flint clients are looking to join the multi-million dollar settlement. But Farrah claims this would create a conflict of interest for the attorney because the interests of his clients who don't want to participate would be compromised by the clients who do.
Fieger inferred that as "an implicit threat" maintaining that the court was trying to "strong-arm" his clients into accepting part of a settlement they had no say in negotiating.